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Sun 20 Feb 2011 03:05 PM

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Qatar's Barwa Bank mulls trading debut this year

Finance house on track for IPO, eyeing acquisitions in wake of Qatar’s Islamic finance ruling

Qatar's Barwa Bank mulls trading debut this year
ISLAMIC BANK: Barwa Bank, the Qatar-based Islamic finance house, is mulling a plan make its trading debut this year

Barwa Bank, the Qatar-based
Islamic finance house, is mulling a plan make its trading debut this year, the
company’s CEO has said. 

“[An IPO] remains our broad
intention,” Barwa CEO Steve Troop told the Peninsula newspaper. “But these are
lengthy processes and there are a number of different authorities that are
required to be consulted and we are initiating that process at this time.”

No further details about the
size of the IPO or a more specific timeframe were announced.

However, Troop did indicate
that Qatar’s recent decision to terminate the Islamic finance operations of the
country’s conventional banks was an “exciting move”.

“The closure of Islamic
windows of the conventional banks is a very interesting development and one
that is overwhelmingly positive for organisations like our own,” he said.

"We have at this stage
no formal plans for acquisitions, although we are clearly interested in
discussions around opportunities that these changes and circumstances might
create.”

In early February, Qatar’s
central bank issued a circular saying that it had instructed conventional banks
to stop Islamic operations, in a move that sent stocks in Islamic banks in the
country soaring.

Barwa is one of four Islamic
lenders in the country, and the only one that is unlisted.

After the central bank
decision was announced, shares in Qatar Islamic Bank, Qatar International
Islamic Bank and Masraf Al Rayan all rose by more than nine percent.